Please note: This post has been updated to reflect the new expected ETIAS implementation date.
Important update: The launch of the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) – originally slated for mid-2024 – is now postponed to 2025.
In 2025, current European Union and Schengen member countries will require all travelers from visa-exempt countries (including the U.S.) to obtain a new form of documentation prior to entry: the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS). This new form is not a visa, but rather a travel authorization for short-term stays.
The United States already requires something similar for folks who travel here from other countries. It's called the Electronic System for Travel Authorization, or ESTA. Now, with the ETIAS, Europe will strive to ensure the safety of travelers within its borders and make your European vacation more secure.
The pre-travel screening process can be completed online, will take about 10 minutes, and will cost less than $10. Read on for more information.
ETIAS stands for European Travel Information and Authorization System, a new travel authorization database that the EU will be implementing sometime in 2025. According to a European Commission press release:
"The ETIAS authorization is not a visa. Nationals of visa liberalization countries will continue to travel the EU without a visa but will simply be required to obtain a travel authorization via ETIAS prior to their travel... An ETIAS travel authorization does not reintroduce visa-like obligations. There is no need to go to a consulate to make an application...and significantly less information is gathered than during a visa application procedure."
The ETIAS will be required for all travelers visiting countries within the European Union and Schengen Area:
All non-visa travelers from visa-exempt countries will need to obtain ETIAS authorization prior to entry into any of the above European countries. The U.S. is included in this list. For a full list of visa-exempt countries, click here.
The official start date of the ETIAS has not been announced, but we have some information about what the application process will be like. You'll need a few documents and an internet connection in order to obtain your travel authorization.
First, you'll complete an online application via a dedicated website or mobile app. This application is expected to take 10–20 minutes to complete. The automated assessment process will start immediately after the application is submitted, and the vast majority of applicants (expected to be more than 95%) will be approved within minutes. You'll receive an email with confirmation of your ETIAS submission, and after approval, you'll receive an email response confirming your travel authorization.
Your ETIAS authorization is digitally linked to your passport, so you do not need to bring any physical documents with you (though printing your authorization email just to be safe is never a bad idea). Upon arrival at a border crossing point, the border guard will be able to electronically read the travel document data after scanning your passport.
The ETIAS will require such information as biometric data (e.g., name, gender, date of birth, etc.), passport information, health information, criminal record, and previous EU immigration history, if applicable (see a full list of requirements here).
More details on application requirements can be found here.
As the measure doesn't go into effect until 2025, the application website has not been made public yet. Once it has, we recommend you apply at least several weeks before your trip as a precaution (although to reiterate, some 95% of authorizations will be approved and available to print within minutes).
Your ETIAS will be valid for multiple entries over a period of three years or until the date of your passport expiry, whichever is sooner. A valid ETIAS entitles you to stay in the applicable countries for up to 90 days within any 180-day period.
A list of FAQ can be found here.